Thursday, October 04, 2012

Squaring Up

A while back, I threw a silk scarf panel into one of my online fabric orders.  It was ten bucks, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice my hand rolled edges.  One of the very first classes I took from Cynthia Guffey was her hand stitching class, and it included a marvelous technique for doing hand rolled hems.  Of course, it has taken me 8 years to get around to actually trying it...

The first step, though, is trimming the scarf panel down.  There was actually a little  void in the weave indicating where the panels were to be separated; that I can tell you it is there indicates that the fabric was NOT cut on the mark.  So I measured the narrowest bit of border and discovered that I needed to trim that black down to 2 1/4". 

Here's a tip I stumbled across...the panel was somewhat wrinkled when I laid it on the table, so I thought it would be smart to iron it out smooth before I tried to cut it to exact edges.  However, I found that the wrinkles were very stubborn...and I was afraid my steam iron would leave waterspots.

So, I quickly gave the panel a very gentle bath in some cool water and baby shampoo, blotted it with a towel and began to iron it again.  But I noticed that, damp, it didn't slip around nearly as much as it did dry.  Inspiration hit, and I laid the damp scarf out on my cutting table and trimmed it down.  MUCH easier to work with!

I took one of the long scraps to practice the hand stitching.  I didn't exactly remember how it was done, so I did an internet search for techniques, thinking I'd spot something similar.

Nope.  Not so much.  So I dug out my binder with my collection of Expo notes and found the notes I'd taken in the class.  Played around with it a bit and saw what I had to do to make it work, technique wise.  But it was tricky to do it by guesstimate;  all the tips recommend machine stitching a guide on the fold line.  I had skipped that step to just practice the technique itself

So I took one of the scraps to the sewing machine and stitched a line 1/4 inch from the edge so I could see if having a stitched line as a guide made a difference.
But, when I sat down to actually roll and stitch the edge, I was alarmed to see a very subtle, but noticeable, pull line at every single stitch.  So I pulled out a brand spanking new needle (60/8 Universal), stitched a bit on the other strip the same thing.  The Universal needles apparently are not right for this fabric, and the smallest Microtex needle I have is  an 80/12, which I think would be much too large for the silk.  So I'ma gonna do what I did on the first sample and carefully eyeball that baby at 1/4" and see how it goes.  I just can't see putting those pull lines in my scarf...

'Cause I intend to start on it tomorrow; The Artist has managed to damage his knee again and will be having a bit of a procedure to try and correct it once more.  This is a minor outpatient arthroscopic deal, but we will still be at the surgery center for 4ish hours.  I expect to get a good bit of scarf hemming done while I'm waiting...


  1. That's a very pretty scarf, Lisa! Let us know how it goes , both the surgery and the hand sewing.

  2. The surgery went very well; but the handsewing...well, you know that sinking feeling you get when you reach for something and it's not there?


    Yup. It got left out of my little bag somehow. Sigh.

    Good thing I had a couple of books along, just in case my eyes got tired of the sewing...

    So, maybe I'll see if I can get a skinny little Microtex needle that will let me sew a guide line without marking the fabric...